Oedipus Rex Discussion Questions

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

When you read Oedipus Rex with students, you are introducing them to a timeless classic with important implications for philosophy, psychology and culture. The questions in this lesson are designed to get them talking about the book with an eye toward critical thinking.

The Importance of Good Discussion Questions

Reading plays like Sophocles' Oedipus Rex with students is deeply important, as it introduces them to classics that have had major implications for the development of philosophy, psychology and culture. At the same time, the play can be quite a challenge to take on. It deals with themes that are not necessarily familiar or comfortable to students, and it invokes symbolism that is sometimes a bit opaque. One of the best ways to engage students in thinking about the play is by helping them have deep and meaningful discussions.

Discussions about literature help students learn collaboratively; rather than just hearing you lecture, they are forced to articulate their own thoughts and listen to one another. If you want your students to have a good discussion about Oedipus Rex, it is important to start with a solid set of discussion questions. Discussion questions do not usually have right or wrong answers. Instead, they are open-ended enough to encourage different perspectives and allow students to piggyback off of each other's thought processes. The discussion questions in this lesson do not constitute a comprehensive list of what can be discussed in Sophocles' timeless play, but they offer a helpful starting point for getting your students talking and thinking.

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